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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Fast times and big personalities: Getting to know the women's track team

By Patrick Murphy

With one of its largest rosters ever, the Macalester Women’s Track & Field team is a mix of senior leadership and young talent. Not to mention an eclectic mix of spandex and personality. I had the opportunity to talk to Marichel Mejía ’11 (sprints), Tara McCoy ’11 (distance), Karen Kiser ’12 (throws), Shasta Webb ’13 (sprints), and Alexa Simpson ’13 (sprints). With the conversation ranging from Nicki Minaj to Spencer Retelle’s leggings, it’s time to meet the ladies.

TMW: Describe track in one word.

MM: Hard-in-da-paint!

TM: Emotional


SW: Raw.

AS: Intense.

TMW: What kind of training and preparation did you go through to prepare for the season?

MM: It’s simple- we tore up the weight room, left burns on the track, and blew up the pool with “the big ball game.” I personally went on a Gatorade binge for three weeks and tackled grizzly bears to improve my speed and strength.

TM: Brutal winter runs that required ski masks.

KK: I throw spears and heavy things, there’s not much preparation for that except maybe lifting.

SW: As a team we begin our preparation in September by lifting three times per week. About halfway through the semester we begin practicing two to three times per week. When we come back for pre-season, which starts two weeks before the semester, we practice twice a day and lift three times a week. When the season starts we practice four times a week, lift three times a week, and have meets every Saturday for essentially the entire semester. It’s a full-time commitment.

AS: Squats, high knees, skipping rope…the regular stuff. Lifting weights heavier than my dad. Big ball game championships in the pool. Looking up motivating quotes online. Ice baths/10 minutes in icy hell.

TMW: How does the women’s team this year compare to last year?

MM: Well, our Alaska to continental-US ratio went through the roof- We now have two Alaskan natives on the team, which is two more than what we had last year. Did I also mention that the team is bigger and we’re even more badass? That too.

KK: We lost some great talent with our seniors last year but gained a lot of new talent with this year’s incoming freshmen. And all the returning runners are putting in a lot of work to improve. I’m excited for the season. We’ll be better than last year.

SW: The main difference is that last year we had an older team, with several very fast senior women. That sounds like I mean crotchety old ladies, but I’m really referring to Emily Mathews and Maddie Mette. This year, we have a much younger team, with the majority of the sprinters in their first and second years at Mac (myself included). This is really exciting because not only do we have a larger women’s sprint squad, but with this young of a team, we are looking at a potentially very competitive team in the next couple of seasons.

AS: We have a larger women’s team this year with people competing in a wider span of events. Word of our awesomeness must have spread.

TMW: Track isn’t a glamorous sport- hours of individual hard work, without the spectacle of other more glamorous sports. So, why do you do it?

MM: I do it because it makes me stay ahead of the curve- on and off the track. It helps me overcome any hurdles in my life that may arise. It gives me the determination to sprint to the finish, no matter what I do. It keeps my life on track. That’s why I do it, Mac Weekly, that’s why.

TM: One, I love runners- so, the people. Secondly, track races bring you to that place where you aren’t thinking about anything- just completely in the moment. And that experience is totally worth it.

SW: To me, track is the foundation of every other sport and competition. Unlike baseball or football or volleyball (which, I will be the first to admit, are more exciting to watch) track is not based on intricate strategy, high-tech equipment, or potentially controversial referee calls. Instead, track is pure speed and time, and other than spikes and spandex, requires no equipment. It’s really a sport where your body is tested in the simplest way possible, and the rawness of that competition keeps me coming back.

AS: First of all, we members of the track team are glamorous enough on our own to not need to participate in a glamorous sport. We make our events glamorous. I do it because it’s the only sport I’ve grown to love. It definitely has more spectacle where I am from (Jamaica), but I keep doing it here because the team is awesome! Who needs full stands when you have the whole track team cheering you on?

TMW: Runners have a bit of a reputation for being goofy, quirky, or downright crazy, does the women’s team live up to this reputation?

MM: Of course we live up to the reputation, what kind of a sick question is this? The Women’s Macalester Track & Field team is the sports equivalent of Nicki Minaj. Enough said.


KK: To some extent. As a whole, I think we’re a lot more subdued than the men’s team. But they have enough crazy for all of us.

SW: With the help of the men, yes. The men’s and women’s sprint teams are so bonded that it’s impossible to think of us as separate units. We all make up dance moves to “Cyclone” and sing a cappella versions of Bohemian Rhapsody on the bus home from meets. We’ve also been known to break into spontaneous reenactments of every T. Swift song. “Love Story” was our jam last year.

AS: Most definitely. There is no way we could get through training without a few laughs to make the workout more bearable. Whether it be pausing to bust out a few invented dance moves, remixing songs, trying to work on our “running faces”, or singing Sean Kingston’s “Letting go” while doing 60-second planks, we gotta’ do something to distract us from the pain.

TMW: Whose weirder? Women’s team or men’s team?

MM: I’m going to take the egalitarian route and say that we’re both equally weird.

TM: Hmm, tough call. Men’s team.

KK: I think the men’s team is more open about their weirdness. We’re still trying to hide it and appear normal.

SW: Wow. As rare as ties are in track, I’ve got to say this is one case where there is no clear winner.

AS: I must say, there are a few unbelievably weird members of the men’s track team, but collectively, I’d have to say the women’s team is weirder.

TMW: Which team has more sex appeal?

MM: See above and replace “weird” with “SEXXAY!” Or, come to our home meet on Feb. 25 and decide for yourself.

TM: Women’s team, duh.

KK: Considering the uniform for both teams is 100 per cent spandex, I’d have to say it’s a tie, where we both lose.

SW: Two words- Spencer’s leggings.

AS: Women’s….duh. We don’t take our shirts off during training and we STILL get more attention.

TMW: What are the worst and best parts of running track?

MM: The worst thing about running track is NOTHING. The best part about running track is EVERYTHING.

TM: The anticipation of the pain and the intense nervousness that is inevitable before every race is the worst part. The post race high is probably the best thing (besides the people, of course).

KK: Hands down, best part about the team is the people on it. The worst part is a little trickier. Probably just the fact that all the events are split up so it’s hard to keep up with everything going on within the team.

SW: The worst part is the frustration of not making a time that you’ve run before. The best part is beating that time. And hanging out with the team, of course.

AS: Worst- Doing Tuesday workouts. Best- The end of Tuesday workouts.

On Saturday, the track & field team travels to Northfield for Carleton’s Meet of the Hearts. The team returns to the Leonard Center on Friday, Feb. 25 for a Pre-MIAC Championships meet.

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